Thursday, September 2, 2010

Portugal Turns to Former Colony for Growth

LISBON — António Cunha Vaz, along with his mother and sister, was part of a mass exodus of Portuguese from Angola in 1975, when it gained independence before descending into a devastating civil war.

Underlining Angola’s growing importance, Aníbal Cavaco Silva, the Portuguese president, is expected to make his first trip to the capital of Angola on Sunday at the helm of a delegation of about 80 Portuguese executives.

But in 2008, Mr. Cunha Vaz opened an office of his Lisbon-based public relations consultancy in Luanda, the capital of Angola, and last year, the company derived 37 percent of its 22 million euros ($28 million) in revenue from Angola.

Portugal, one of Europe’s ailing economies, is increasingly placing its hopes of recovery on Angola, a former colony that has established itself as one of the strongest economies in sub-Saharan Africa — thanks largely to oil and diamonds. The shift comes as competition is getting stiffer in Brazil, another booming former colony, and as Portugal’s traditional European trading partners, led by Spain, struggle under a mountain of debt and soaring joblessness.

Angola has already become Portugal’s largest export market outside of Europe, accounting for 7 percent of Portuguese exports last year, compared with 1 percent in 2000, according to the Portuguese statistics institute and Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics agency. Machinery and industrial equipment lead the list, along with food, beverages and metals.

Perhaps even more spectacular than the trade flow has been the arrival of a new generation of Portuguese working in Angola, a trend that is expected to gather pace as more Portuguese companies shift operations there and Angola moves ahead with investment-friendly plans like the opening of a local stock exchange. Last year, 23,787 Portuguese moved to Angola, compared with only 156 in 2006, the Portuguese immigration observatory said.

Continue the story HERE at the New York Times.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Violence in Maputo: Mozambique Police Fire at Crowds Protesting Prices

More pictures found HERE.

MAPUTO, Mozambique (AP) -- Young men angry over the rising cost of food, fuel and water rampaged through Mozambique's capital Wednesday, throwing stones, looting shops and drawing police fire that killed at least seven people.

Rising prices around the world have raised concerns about a return to the political instability of 2008, when Haiti, Kenya and Somalia were among impoverished countries that saw rioting over the cost of living.

Egypt, where rioting also broke out in 2008, has in recent months seen protests over rising food prices. The U.N. said Wednesday that international food prices have risen to their highest in two years.

Mozambican police had declared Wednesday's marches illegal, saying no group sought permission for them. For days, word of the protests had been spread, in some cases by cell phone message, in this former Portuguese colony in southeast Africa.

Thousands of people, mostly young men, turned out.

''This strike is about the hike in prices. More than that, it's about injustice,'' said one protester, 34-year-old Albino Mkwate.

Continue the story HERE at the New York Times.

I Already Miss the World Cup

Riot police contain supporters of Mozambique's national soccer team after their their World Cup 2010 qualifying soccer match against Kenya in Maputo, Mozambique Setember 6. (REUTERS/Grant Lee Neuenburg) found HERE.

This picture must be a year old by now. I love the guy in the mask. I wish I had seen it earlier.